Vinesh Phogat was brimming with joy and a bit of relief as well at the top step of the podium in Jakarta. A yellow metal was hanging around her neck as she heard the Indian national anthem play inside the arena.
The 23-year-old successfully conquered the continent and became the first woman from India to win a wrestling gold at the Asian Games on Monday.
However, two years ago, Vinesh's career was thrown into doubt as the then 21-year-old suffered a horrible knee injury at Rio Olympics, the biggest stage of all.
Vinesh was one of the most promising medal contenders for the country in Rio de Janeiro but she was stretchered off midway during her quarter-final bout against Sun Yanan.
The Haryana wrestler was sidelined for more than eight months — a difficult road to recovery filled with memories of the Olympic heartbreak and self-doubt.
However, Vinesh fought back well and won a silver at the Asian Wrestling Championship in May last year. She followed it up with a gold at the National Championships.
She had warmed up to the big quadrennial continental meet with a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year.
"Injuries are part of an athlete's career. It is difficult both emotionally and physically," Vinesh told the Press Trust of India shortly after creating history in Jakarta.
"But I shrugged off everything to deliver some good medals recently. Someone has said an athlete becomes strong after injury and I feel I indeed have become stronger than before.
"I work on this [mental strength] but I am like this from childhood. I have always been rough and tough. I take risks in life and they pay off. I have self-belief. I feel there is nothing that I can't do."
Was determined to win gold today: Vinesh
Vinesh was at her dominant best on Monday. The Indian wrestler's first bout was against Sun Yanan, the Chinese wrestler who had shared the mat with her on the horrific day at Rio Games.
Vinesh eased her way past the Olympic bronze medalist 8-2 before demolishing Kim Hyung Joo of South Korea 11-0.
Vinesh needed only 75 seconds to clinch a win via technical superiority (10-0) in the semi-final against Yakhshi Muratova Dauletbike of Uzbekistan.
In the final, against the classy Irie Yuki, Phogat was looking relaxed and comfortable. She maintained a four-point lead for most part of the match and finished it 6-2.
Vinesh said she single-mindedly focused on the gold medal after a couple of missed opportunities at the continental level over the years. Notably, the 24-year-old had finished with a bronze in Incheon and has won three silvers and two bronze medals at Asian Championships.
"I had targeted gold. I had 3-4 silvers at the Asia level. So I was determined to win a gold today. My body responded well. I had trained well and God was also kind to me. Everything fell in place for me today."